Overview Of Local Church Operat
DOCTRINE: OVERVIEW OF LOCAL CHURCH OPERATIONS
Doctrine: Philosophy of Ministry, What and Why?
- God’s Purpose for the Church: is to have believers in Jesus Christ represent Him in the world by 1) Witnessing about Jesus Christ to the nonbeliever, and 2) Learning Bible doctrine for application (Gen 1.26; Ps 8; Matt 5.13-16,48; 28.19-20; Eph 3.10; 5.1; Col 1.9-10; 1 Tim 2.4; 1 Pet 2.9, 4.11).
- God’s Plan for the Church: is to carry out His purpose by equipping believers so they will do ministry and grow. We want this church to increase in numbers and for its members to come to spiritual maturity. Therefore we 1) Learn the Word of God, 2) Apply the Word of God, and 3) Grow (1 Cor 14.12; Eph 4.11-16; Col 1.9-12; 2 Tim 3.14-17; Jms 1.21-25).
- God’s organization for the local Church has provided specific roles for the pastor/teacher and the congregation: The pastor/teacher’s role is to authoritatively lead and teach the congregation. The congregation’s role is to willingly recognize and support that ministry, and to learn The Word of God, apply the Word of God, and to grow spiritually. Believers then minister to the other believers in the church and witness to nonbelievers about Jesus Christ (Acts 1.8; 19;8-10,20; 20.17,28; Rom 12.1-2; 2 Cor 9.12-14; Eph 4.11-16; Phil 1.4-11, 25-28; Philemon 5-6; 1 Pet 4.10-11; 1 Pet 5.1-3).
Doctrine: Local Church
- Description: The local church is group of believers who regularly meet together under the authority of a pastor/teacher so that the pastor/teacher may equip them by teaching them the Bible so that that they may function as a church body or team and fulfill God’s ministry on earth.
2.1. The local church is made up of believers in Jesus Christ, formed into His body on earth, under the headship, authority, and direction of Jesus Christ and under the delegated authority of the pastor/teacher (1 Cor 12.27; Eph 1.22-23; Col 1.18; Heb 13.17; 1 Pet 5.1-4).
2.2. The local church is a particular group of believers (Rom 16.5; 1 Cor 14.34; Col 4.15) within the geographical church (all believers in a geographical area, 1 Cor 1.2; 1 Thes 1.1) and the universal church (all believers, Eph 1.22-23).
2.3. The believers are to assemble together in an orderly group (Rom 16.5; 1 Cor 14.40; Col 4.15; Philemon 2; Heb 10.25).
2.4. A bond, togetherness, camaraderie, unity will develop among them as they mature (Rom 12.10; 16.4, 16, 23; 1 Cor 12.20-27; Eph 4.3).
2.5. The church is called a body with all members necessary, valuable, and ministering for God and the benefit of the church. It functions as a team (Rom 12.4-17; 1 Cor 12; Eph 4.11-16; 1 Pet 4.10-11).
2.6. A growing local church will develop a working unity in salvation, doctrine, and ministry (Eph 4.3-6; Phil 1.27; 2.2-3; Jude 3).
3.1. The main purpose that the local church meets together as a group is for the communication of the Word of God by gifted men (primarily the pastor/teacher) to the assembled believers for the equipping of the saints (1 Cor 12.28-31; 1 Cor 14; Eph 4.11-16; 2 Tim 4.2-3).
3.2. The task for the church in the world is to faithfully represent God through a balanced ministry of evangelism in the world and edification in the church (Matt 28.19-20).
3.3. The church has two rituals to observe. They are water baptism and the Lord’s supper (Matt 28.19; Acts 2.41; 1 Cor 1.14-16; 1 Cor 11.20-28).
4. Authority and organization:
4.1. God has appointed the pastor/teacher, elder, overseer (all words refer to the same individual) to authoritatively teach, lead, and protect the believers in one local church (Acts 20.17, 28; Eph 4.11-16; 1 Tim 3.1, 5; 2 Tim 4.2; Heb 13.17; 1 Pet 5.1-4).
4.2. The deacons (servants of God, the pastor/teacher, and the church) are a team of servants in the local church (Phil 1.1; 1 Tim 3.8-10).
5. Ministry among believers:
5.1. Each believer has a spiritual gift which is a special ability from God to serve God and the church (1 Cor 12.4-7; Rom 12.6-8; Eph 4.11; 1 Pet 4.10).
5.2. The local church ought to have a consistent prayer life (Acts 2.42; Rom 12.12; 15.30; Eph 6.18; 1 Thes 5.17).
5.3. The local church has the opportunity to freely give material wealth for the physical support of the local church (1 Cor 16.1; 2 Cor 8.1-15; 9.1-13; Gal 6.6; Phil 4.15; 1 Tim 5.17-18).
5.4. The church has the opportunity to assist those believers who are in need (Gal 6.10; Eph 4.28; 1 Tim 5.16; 1 Jn 3.17-18).
5.5. The church should have a genuine interest for each other and at the same time refrain from interference in the life of any person in the church. The church should be free from any judging, criticizing, or gossiping about other members (Rom 12.13; Gal 6.2, 6, 10; 1 Thes 5.15; 1 Pet 4.15; 1 Jn 3.16-17; Matt 7.1-2; Jn 21.21-22; Rom 14.1-13; 1 Cor 4.1-7; Col 3.17, 23; 2 Thes 3.11; 1 Tim 5.13; Jms 4.11-12; 1 Pet 2.1; 4.15).
- Description: The pastor/teacher is the man gifted by God to prepare or equip believers for ministry and the edification of the church. The general profile indicates that he is to authoritatively teach the Word of God for application, lead, and protect the local church body. This will result in believers that are able to minister and participate in the build up of the body of Christ and therefore represent God on earth (Eph 4.11-14; Titus 2.15; 1 Pet 4.11-12).
2.1. The title “pastor/teacher” (poim8n kai didaskalos) is the working title for the man God gifts to teach, lead, and protect the believers with a particular congregation. Pastor emphasizes leadership, care for, protection, support, correction. Teacher emphasizes communication, instruction of the Word of God. Pastor/teacher emphasizes the spiritual gifts and ministries that result from the gifts. The pastor/teacher is also the overseer and elder (Eph 4.11; Acts 20.17 and 28).
2.2. The title “overseer” (episkopos, guardian, superintendent) is an official title emphasizing the supervisory activity (1 Tim 3.2; Titus 1.7).
2.3. The title “elder” (presbuteros, elder, older man) is an official title emphasizing the rank. Both refer to the pastor/teacher as the leader and both carry authority (1 Tim 5.17; Titus 1.5; 1 Pet 5.1-4).
3. The pastor/teacher seems to be multi-gifted in order to perform God’s function. The gifts most apparent are teaching, leadership, and administration (Acts 20.28; Eph 4.11-12).
4.1. The pastor/teacher is God’s human authority in the local church. This authority has been delegated from God through the Holy Spirit and the Bible ( Eph 4.11-16; Acts 20.17-28; 1 Pet 5.1-4; 1 Tim 5.17; Heb 13.17).
4.2. The pastor/teacher must be a servant and must not abuse his authority (Matt 20.25-28; Jn 13.15-17; 1 Pet 5.3). He is like both a full general and a player coach.
5. The qualities of the overseer (pastor/teacher) are seen in 1 Tim 3.2-7, Titus 1.5-9, and 1 Pet 5.1-3. The standard is high, but it does not indicate that spiritual leaders are more holy than anyone else. All possess sin natures, all have weaknesses, and all fail.
6. Priorities of the pastor/teacher:
6.1. The pastor/teacher must please the Lord, not people. It is his job to equip his congregation (Gal 1.10; 1 Thes 2.4-6; Titus 2.15)
6.2. The practice of the pastor/teacher is to study the Bible from the original languages if possible and communicate the content for application, to lead and direct the church, and to protect the congregation from bad doctrine and disruptive influences in the church (Acts 20.28-31; Eph 4.11-12; Phil 1.25; 2 Tim 2.15; 4.2).
- Description: A deacon is a man that functions as an honored servant of God, the pastor/teacher, and the church. He is the person who, under authority of the pastor/teacher willingly serves the church body by actively carrying out needed tasks for the benefit of the church. Deacons are leader servants for the effective performance of service.
- Scripture which speaks of deacons:
2.1. Phil 1.1 lists deacons and the elders (overseers, pastor/teachers) as officials of the church.
2.2. 1 Tim 3.10-13 gives qualities of deacons. The standard is high, but it does not indicate that they are more holy than anyone else. All possess sin natures, all have weaknesses, and all fail. In this same context deacons are under the authority of the elder (pastor/teacher) and serve him and the local church.
2.3. Acts 6 illustrates the type of serving, but the men do not seem to be actual deacons.
3. The title “deacon” is a transliteration (diakonos). It means a servant, a helper. Cremer (177) says it refers “to the service or advantage rendered to another.” Trench (32) says it “represents the servant in his activity for the work.” Foerster (TDNT 2.81) writes that the verb “has the special quality of indicating very personally the service rendered to another…there is a stronger approximation to the concept of a service of love.”
4. Authority: The deacon is under the authority of the pastor/teacher. The deacon is not an authoritative person, but authority may be delegated to him. He is set off from the body by his serviceableness.
5. All the spiritual gifts can be useful for deacons. The most appropriate and useful gifts are service (Rom 12.7), administration (1 Cor 12.28), and leadership (Rom 12.8).
6. The selection of deacons is not specifically explained. By comparing the doctrine of pastor/teacher, the basic meaning of the “servant” word group, and 1 Tim 3 it seems that the pastor ought to appoint them. The length of service is not stated.
7. Practical requirements to serve well as a deacon include consistent spiritual growth, authority orientation, humility, teachability, and loyalty to the pastor/teacher and philosophy of ministry of that local church.
Copyright 1987 by Tod M. Kennedy
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